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How to Apply for a Credit Card

Applying for a credit card can be simple and painless. Most credit card providers allow you to apply for a credit card online. The key to making this a quick process is to be organized and have your personal, employment, and financial information ready before filling out an application. Before applying for any credit card, here are some documents and information you will need to provide to most credit card providers.

Information About You

Between all of the different credit card providers, the personal information that you need to provide will vary only slightly. For any application, you will, of course, need to provide your full name, date of birth, a residential address in the U.S, as well as a driver’s license or some other form of identification. Many credit card providers require that you provide a Social Security Number to verify your identity and in order to pull your credit history.

For international students without a credit history or a Social Security Number, there are still some options available. Many banks will issue a “secured” credit card, which requires the applicant to put down a security deposit. So if you want to have a $1,000 credit line, they will ask for a $1,000 deposit. Secured cards help you build credit, but you have to use your own money to do it. Deserve offers credit cards that build a credit history without a security deposit. In lieu of a Social Security number, they ask for other documents including your passport ID, VISA, and I-20 form.

Proof of Employment and Income

If you are working in the U.S, your credit card issuer will need to know your job’s title, industry, if you are working full or part-time, and your annual salary. Beyond that, you may also have to provide your employer’s name, contact information, and the amount of time you have been working there.

A job is not always required to apply for a credit card. Your credit card provider must know, however, that you have a reliable source of income to pay off your account’s balance every month. Some credit card providers may ask for proof of a U.S. bank account balance to establish your source of income.

Other Financial Information

When applying for your credit card, be sure that you know the current account details for your checkings and savings account. Your credit card provider will need to know your current balance in these accounts to understand a number of assets you currently have. Additional financial information that credit card issuers will often time need include a number of your other assets such as stock investments or properties, and any other payments you owe in car loans or personal loans.

With adequate preparation and the right documents on hand, the process to applying for a credit card should be simple and painless. Upon submitting, you should hear back from your credit card provider on the status of your application within two weeks.


If you have been approved for a credit card, congratulations! In the next lesson, learn more about What to Do if Your Credit Card Application is Approved.

If your credit card application was not approved, do not worry. In the next lesson, learn more about What to Do if Your Credit Card Application is Declined.


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